A broken collarbone is a common injury, particularly in children and young adults. Your collarbone (clavicle) connects the upper part of your breastbone (sternum) to your shoulder blade (scapula). Common causes of a broken collarbone include falls onto a shoulder, sports injuries and trauma from traffic accidents.
If you think you or your child has a broken collarbone, seek prompt medical attention. Most broken collarbones heal well with ice, pain relievers, a sling and physical therapy. But a complicated broken collarbone may require surgery to realign the broken bone and to implant plates, screws or rods into the bone to maintain proper alignment during healing.
The collarbone (clavicle) connects the breastbone (sternum) to the shoulder blade (scapula). A broken collarbone is a common injury that causes pain and swelling at the site of the fracture.
Signs and symptoms of a broken collarbone include:
When to see a doctor
Common causes of a broken collarbone include:
Factors that may increase your risk of a broken collarbone include:
Most broken collarbones heal without difficulty. But complications may include:
Preparing for your appointment
Depending on the severity of the break, your family doctor or the emergency room physician may recommend that you or your child be examined by an orthopedic surgeon.
What you can do
What to expect from your doctor
Tests and diagnosis
X-rays are taken to determine the extent of a broken collarbone, pinpoint its exact location and determine if there's any injury to the joints. Occasionally, your doctor may also recommend a computerized tomography (CT) scan to obtain more-detailed images.
Treatments and drugs
Treatment of a broken collarbone varies, depending on the type and location of the break.
Treatment for infants
A broken collarbone often happens in an unplanned, unexpected instant. It's usually impossible to foresee or prevent that instant, but these basic tips may offer some protection.
Last Updated: 2010-06-18
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